Schooling kids at home possible
If families can keep a predictable schedule and continue school work in some fashion we can reduce children’s anxiety, according to psychologists and educators. Children respond well to ten to twenty minute segments of active and quiet activities similar to a school day with rest, meals, and snacks rather than passively sitting in front of media.
Very young children can play with their toys, be read to, play ball games and other games. There are hundreds of suggestions at grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com and wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons podcasts. These are easy science, reading, math, writing, social studies, art, music, active and quiet activities for children. If families start out with a plan for doing schooling now it will be easier than no structure and then after a week realize that watching Netflix or gaming is not going to work.
There are lessons and guides like khanacademy.org for K- college all subjects; teacherspayteachers.com; Scholastic.com “Learn at Home”; Google “home school sites”, or “online homeschool programs.” Your schools may also have suggestions.
Keep schooling simple. You will need a work area with a flat surface, comfortable chair seating, good lighting and bins or bags for storage. You already have these in the home. A kitchen table works well. Children can be close to adults or older children who will be helping younger children. Avoid working on the couch. That area can be kept for reading. Turn off the TV, computer games, and cell phone during school time. Gather paper, pencils, crayons, markers, glue, scissors, other materials as needed.
Have a plan and a schedule before meeting as a family. Children can get up like a regular school day, wash, dress, make the bed, eat breakfast, clean up. Then it is time to start.
Children’s attention span varies by age and child. Early elementary activities often are 6-10 minutes. Then change activity. You have many choices. You can have a variety of quiet and active activities, snack, playtime, reading/ writing time, break/food, play outside for twenty minutes, reading, math, science, social studies, board games, cooking, art, checking, redoing, and cleaning up.
Every family’s situation is different. We do what we can in our own circumstances. The important thing is to have some schooling in place so children have experience of normalcy.
Sit down as a family to set up a realistic schedule in your situation. Some families do a little bit every day. Some setup rewards of smiley faces on a refrigerator chart, give free computer time and free time outside as rewards for doing school work. Some families use rewards of Facetime, Skype, or Zoom time with grandparents. Families can check often, “How are things going?” Frequently meet to take a look and adjust to meet your needs.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.